Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 21, 2016

Previous Week   May 23, 2016 - May 29, 2016   Next Week

Star Wars opens on May 25, 1977

Star Wars opens on May 25, 1977

Star Wars opens: On this day in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.

The incredible success of Star Wars–it received seven Oscars, and earned $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide–began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie’s release date. “It wasn’t like a movie opening”, actress Carrie Fisher, who played rebel leader Princess Leia, later told Time magazine. “It was like an earthquake.” Beginning with–in Fisher’s words - “a new order of geeks, enthusiastic young people with sleeping bags”, the anticipation of a revolutionary movie-watching experience spread like wildfire, causing long lines in front of movie theaters across the country and around the world.

With its groundbreaking special effects, Star Wars leaped off screens and immersed audiences in “a galaxy far, far away”. By now everyone knows the story, which followed the baby-faced Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as he enlisted a team of allies–including hunky Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and the robots C3PO and R2D2–on his mission to rescue the kidnapped Princess Leia from an Evil Empire governed by Darth Vader. The film made all three of its lead actors overnight stars, turning Fisher into an object of adoration for millions of young male fans and launching Ford’s now-legendary career as an action-hero heartthrob.

Star Wars was soon a bona-fide pop culture phenomenon. Over the years it has spawned five more feature films, five TV series and an entire industry’s worth of comic books, toys, video games and other products. Two big-screen sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983), featured much of the original cast and enjoyed the same success–both critical and commercial–as the first film. In 1999, Lucas stretched back in time for the fourth installment, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, chronologically a prequel to the original movie. Two other prequels, Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) followed.

The latter Star Wars movies featured a new cast–including Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen–and have generally failed to earn the same amount of critical praise as the first three films. They continue to score at the box office, however, with Revenge of the Sith becoming the top-grossing film of 2005 in the United States and the second worldwide. History Channel / Star Wars Official Site / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Movement schedule

(DOD) A timetable developed to monitor or track the movement of a separate entity, whether it is a force requirement, cargo or personnel increment, or lift asset, that reflects the assignment of specific lift resources, shows a flow and workload at each location, and supports plan implementation. Joint Publications 4-09 (Distribution Operations - Defense Technical Information)


The Old Salt’s Corner


In the heart of the blackest abyss, down,

Down, in fathoms deep crypt, where light,

Does not penetrate, and the structured protective hauls,

Of men, are crushed beneath pressures massive

Weight, of the oceans deepest depth.

This is truly inner spaces aquatic zone of the

Unknown, a realm of stilled silence frozen

In the icy currents of the barren straights.

Where prehistoric giants dwell, amongst the

Tidal flow, ambush predators, forgotten beasts,

From long ago, living krakens whom devour

All life, hidden within their dark domain.

In Poseidon's mighty anger, the waves answer

To his fists of fury, hurricanes wrath of vengeance,

Gives birth to the perfect storms rage,

Vessels rise and than fall in the tidal surging


Nay do the sailors cry out to the Lord God on high,

For redemption's salvation, but the sacrificial altars must

Be appeased, by flesh and bloods sacred offerings.

Summons does the mighty lord of the seven seas,

To release the last of the ancient Leviathans.

Two thousand hands, of a thousand dead men,

Heave and pull at the tethering heavy chains,

To this devil of the depths cage.

From within interments vaulted keep,

Captivities living spawn from hell, is

Unshackled and released, to reek havocs

Devastation above.

An aquatic spider, a maritime widow maker,

Flexing and in-flexing, its body’s motions,

Towards the surface, in pulsations rhythmic

Orchestrations, the gray giant is ready to strike,

With its killing arms extended wide, to grapple

At its unprotected prey, to engorge itself with

All living matter that it surveys, within its icy reach.

As bubbles shoot upwards breaking the waters

Surface, suction cups and talon claws are drawn

Outwards, aligning his eight legged tentacles of bone

Crushing death, behold the Giant Squid, instrument of

Lethal torture, a living killing machine from the fathoms

Deepest depths.

For it is the beast, the true essence of evil

Incarnate, and none survive its destructive wrath.

~ Cherl Dunn

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

A principle of human movement: “The relationship of the act of pointing, both in the real world (e.g. with a hand or finger), and on a computer (e.g. with a mouse).”

~ Fitts's law

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe.”

~ Isaac Asimov

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

~ Arthur Rubinstein

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

News broadcast interrupted by dog riding a lawnmower

News broadcast interrupted by dog riding a lawnmower Journalists - we’re a professional bunch.

Local news crew KYTX CBS19 were filming damage caused by a storm in Texas, when suddenly they broke down.

“Oh, my God. Come see – look at that dog!” - There was a dog riding a lawnmower in someone’s back garden. Metro UK (03/10/2016)

Why Is It “Eleven, Twelve” Instead of “Oneteen, Twoteen”?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is It “Eleven, Twelve” Instead of “Oneteen, Twoteen”?

English number words are pretty logical after a point. From twenty-one to ninety-nine, the same principle applies: you say the tens place followed by the units place. But the teens are different. Not only does the ten (which is where the word teen comes from) come after the units place (10+7 is not teen-seven but seventeen), eleven and twelve don't fit in at all

Eleven and twelve come from the Old English words endleofan and twelf, which can be traced back further to a time when they were ain+lif and twa+lif. So what did this –lif mean? The best guess etymologists have is that it is from a root for “to leave.” Ainlif is “one left (after ten)” and twalif is “two left (after ten).”

So then the question is, why don't we have threelif, fourlif, fiflif, sixlif and so on? The answer has to do with the development of number systems over history. A long, long time ago, when the number words were first being formed, most people didn't have much reason to distinguish numbers above ten. In fact, some languages of primitive cultures only have number words for one, two, and many. So the basic number words up to ten formed first, then they were extended a bit with the –lif ending.

Maybe there was a threelif, fourlif type system, but 11 and 12 were used more often in daily life. Many number systems are based on 12 because it's divisible by the most numbers, and because you can count to 12 on one hand by using your thumb to count three knuckles on each of the other fingers. (We have the word dozen because 12 is so useful). If 11 and 12 are being used more frequently, the forms for them will stick, even when another system starts to develop.

You can extend that idea to other number words. We have more irregularities of pronunciation in the tens (twenty, thirty, fifty instead of twoty, threety, fivety) because we've been making everyday use of those numbers for longer than we have for two hundred, three hundred, and five hundred). Thousand is an old word, but its original sense was “a great multitude”, a non-numerically-specific, but very useful idea. The words we needed earliest, and used the most frequently are usually the most irregular.

So the short answer is, we created words for 11 and 12 a long time ago by calling them “one left after ten” and “two left after ten”. They were more useful to us than the higher numbers, so we said them more and they became a habit that we couldn't shake.

English.StackExchangeThe GuardianMental FlossMathForum.orgRedditWorld Wide Words video

Where Did That Saying Come From? “All corners of the world”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

All corners of the world:”  Meaning: All parts of the world.

Origin: From Shakespeare's Cymbeline, 1611:


What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper

Hath cut her throat already. No, 'tis slander,

Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue

Nothing of him that doth fade

But doth suffer a sea-change

Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell

Shakespeare also used the phrase “the four corners of the earth” in The Merchant of Venice, 1596, and in King John, 1595, “the three corners of the world”.


NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy America's Navy - A Global Force For Good

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

JOPA: Junior Officer Protection Association. An ad-hoc organization of young division officers onboard some surface ships and in most aviation squadrons, assembled to provide a means of guidance and escape from overly-demanding Department Heads. When JOPA is unified it can control some wardroom social functions, but little else.

JORG: Junior Officer Requiring Guidance (see “George”)

JORP: Junior Officer Rest Period. See also SERP.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines Marines - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Landing Gear: Crossed rifles exposed on the rank insignia of Lance Corporals, Corporals, and Sergeants.

Land of the big PX: Used in reference to CONUS by Marines deployed overseas.

Lawn Dart: Pejorative for various aircraft, possibly from the lawn dart effect.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-12 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWELVE: “Golden Falcons”
Naval Air Facility Atsugi - Atsugi, Japan

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Naked chimpanzees suffering from alopecia brawl at British zoo

Naked chimpanzees suffering from alopecia brawl at British zoo

ATHERSTONE, England - A pair of naked chimpanzees suffering from hair-loss condition alopecia got into a scuffle at a British zoo and caused chaos in their enclosure.

The fight between the two naked apes leads the rest of the enclosure's chimps, which appear to have retained their hair, to join in the chaos.

“A few scratches and some minor wounds and probably a few more scars”, the video's description reads.

Alopecia, a condition that can also affect humans, has been known to affect chimpanzees that suffered from stress or trauma.

UPI (03/10/2016)

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Whip It” - Devo 1980

“Whip It” - Devo
Album: Freedom Of Choice
Released 1980 video

Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh formed Devo when they were at Kent State University. Jerry told us how this song came together:

“Whip It”, like many Devo songs, had a long gestation, a long process. The lyrics were written by me as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon's parodies in his book Gravity's Rainbow. He had parodied limericks and poems of kind of all-American, obsessive, cult of personality ideas like Horatio Alger and 'You're #1, there's nobody else like you' kind of poems that were very funny and very clever. I thought, 'I'd like to do one like Thomas Pynchon,' so I wrote down 'Whip It' one night. Mark had recorded some sketches for song ideas in his apartment, and when we'd get together every day to write, rehearse and practice, we would listen to everybody's snippets of ideas. He had this tape with about eight things on it, and one of them had a drum beat that was very interesting, it became the 'Whip It' drum beat.

Then three other songs had pieces of what became the 'Whip It' song, except they were in different time signatures and different tempos. I put them all together into one composition. All the parts of the song got rolled into one song. Then we started putting the lyrics over the top of it and liked the idea of how it was working out. We started practicing it every day, until we got it to the point where we really liked it and we thought it was really snappy. Then we recorded it. We didn't like it any better or any less than any of the other songs we were doing, and we had no idea it would become a hit.” (Full Devo interview.)

This became a hit when it was picked up by a radio programmer from Florida. He played it on some stations there and created the buzz that made it a hit. Says Jerry: “It spread around the country. All the DJs and people hearing it assumed it was a song about beating off or sadomasochism, so we let them think that. We didn't want to ruin it and tell them the truth, because they just wouldn't get off on the truth.”

When MTV launched in 1981, they had very few videos to choose from. Some European and Australian artists had been making videos, but very few came from US artists, and most of those were concert videos. Devo had been making interesting videos for a while because they thought Laser Discs were going to catch on and wanted to make film shorts with music soundtracks that people could watch on them. Laser Discs never caught on, but MTV did, which gave this video lots of exposure.

Jerry Casale: “We made a video to it for like $15,000 that was shot in our rehearsal studio. We kind of magnified that myth that this was a song about whipping and sadomasochism. We decided to make the video feed that popular misconception and had a lot of fun doing it. It was one of the few times Devo worked like that, usually we would start with a visual idea or story and write music to fit it. In this case, we didn't originally have a video idea for 'Whip It,' and when people started thinking it was a song about whacking off or sadomasochism, we had these quack books that we would collect from junk stores or vintage magazine stores that served as inspiration or jokes. There was this one magazine that I found in a store in Santa Monica. It was a 1962 men's girlie mag called Dude, I think.

There was a feature article on a guy who had been an actor and fell on hard times, he wasn't getting parts anymore. He moved with his wife to Arizona, opened a dude ranch and charged people money to come hang out at the ranch. Every day at noon in the corral, for entertainment, he'd whip his wife's clothes off with a 12-foot bullwhip. She sewed the costumes and put them together with Velcro. The story was in the magazine about how good he was and how he never hurt her. We had such a big laugh about it, we said, 'OK, that's the basis for the video. We'll have these cowboys drinking beer and cheering Mark on as he's in the barnyard whipping this pioneer women's clothes off while the band plays in the corral.'

Back then, nobody cared. MTV had just started up in three cities, we had already shot 5 videos before Whip It, and nobody cared. There was no industry around it, there were no gatekeepers, there was no pecking order, there were no video commissioners, there were no representatives going, 'No, you can't do that, we won't show that.' There wasn't enough money or power involved for anybody to care, so we were just considered crazy artists that went out and did whacko things. So we made the video and one day we started showing it in concerts and then MTV started playing it.”

Devo official site / Rolling Stone / Not inn the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame / All Music / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Freedom Of Choice (album)” by Devo



● Calorie is a measure of energy comes from the Latin word meaning “heat”

● Eel species of the Amazonian electric variety pack a 650 volt

● Salt is removed from water in the process of desalination.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

What do cats eat for breakfast?

“Mice Krispies”

Pun of the Day

Aspiring physicians go to college and get indoctorinated.